The Grapes of Wrath

Christian Influence in The Grapes of Wrath

Authors often use religious allusions to further the significance of a novel. It is when the reader recognizes and understands these influences that the importance of the novel can be truly understood. In John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck utilizes numerous Christian references to further the underlying meaning of his novel. Steinbeck's use of intricate methods to portray Casy as a Christ figure, Tom Joad as a disciple, the family as a larger "family" of humanity, and the Joads' as the Israelites facilitate the novel's Christian influence.

Initially, Steinbeck casts the character played by Jim Casy as a Christ-like figure. Jim Casy travels along with the Joad family on an expedition from Oklahoma to California. Casy, an ex-minister who has relinquished his former Christian beliefs, is now strictly practicing abstinence. "Casy's new 'religion' is based on love and a belief in each person's soul as well as an all-inclusive soul, the 'Holy Spirit' of humanity" (Stanley Ed. 107). Jim Casy's initials, J.C., also serve as confirmation of his character's function as a symbol of Jesus Christ. Even Casy's actions correspond to those of Christ: he is...

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